We know how difficult it can be to eat a disciplined and healthy diet. Junk food is always around and twisted our cravings. And it is worse when our brains seem “conditioned” to seek it. What you call irresistible cravings can be innate behavior. It turns out that the brain remembers junk food a lot more than healthy food. That explains everything.
It’s called “Optimal Foraging Theory”. It suggests that our spatial memory prioritizes the most rewarding snacks in calories. It comes from our ancestors of hunters and gatherers. They didn’t know when their next meal would arrive. It was very useful behavior at the time. Maybe not so much now.
A spatial memory test was carried out among 512 participants. They had to go through a maze of groceries. Participants were more likely to remember the location of the chocolate brownies and fries. Not so much with healthy foods like apples and tomatoes.
In nature, animals often look for high-energy food first. In previous studies, participants quickly categorized and memorized images of high and low calorie foods. However, brain imaging shows that high calorie foods include areas of reward processing.
Apparently our cognitive system is “optimized for energy-efficient foraging”.
Junk food memory was 27 to 28 percent better than with healthy food. Even when only one odor was available, the participants were remarkably good at implicitly “knowing” the caloric content of the sample.
Hunter … for garbage
It is believed that smell and memory are closely related in the brain. However, a human’s sense of smell is considered to be inferior to that of other foraging mammals.
“However, individuals distinguish different types of smells by inferring the calorie properties of foods. You can find objects more easily, ”write the authors.
Perhaps our memories were shaped by our need for food at a time of unpredictable hunting and hunting. It is too early to say how these cognitive processes affect our behavior. But what if this optimal eating theory turns out to be true? This could explain why it is so difficult to make healthy eating choices in a modern world. The brain remembers junk food and guides us there.
“Cognitive prejudices can make it easier to choose high-calorie foods. It would benefit from people’s tendency to prefer convenient and easily accessible items when making food choices.
Oops. You don’t just have to have willpower. You also have to deal with ancient behaviors that are inserted into your brain like a chip. Anyway, who wants a salad?